Hi I’m Ella, and I’m a writer.
We need some sort of support group with the amount of complaining we all seem to do. Especially about not writing, which is about 80% of what being a writer is about. The rest of it is about 10% squeezing your brain and writing something even with the very distinct lack of motivation to do so, and 9.5% editing. Which leaves you with 0.5% of actual inspiration to write. As I said in a previous post, writer’s block is less of an occasional problem and more a consistent state of being. I’m by no means qualified to give tips, but seeing as writing is in the title of my blog I might as well write a bit about… well, writing.
Since my last post about creative writing, I’ve finished my first novel Enclosure (including extensive editing, proof-reading and all the particulars about font sizing, spacing and what-not that publishers want you to do) and am about 23,000 words into the sequel. I’m trying to get the first published – trying being the operative word. I’ve lost count of the amount of agents that I’ve sent Enclosure to, which has received about two rejections with some actual feedback, then a handful of plain old rejections, and somewhere between ten and fifteen that just ignored me. I’m not going to lie, no matter how much I told myself that it was going to be a hard slog and reminding myself how many times J.K Rowling herself got rejected, it gets pretty disheartening. If there are any creative writers reading this post, you’ll understand why. If not, I’ll try to explain the ridiculous levels of attachment we have to our characters. I bawl my eyes out when I’m writing scenes in which my characters are in distress. Any one who knows me will back me up that I talk about them like they are real people; like they are friends I’ve known all my life. I frequently – and this is embarrassing, but I can’t stop myself – refer to them as my children. So it’s not a pleasant feeling when people clearly just aren’t into it.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The feeling when I finished Enclosure was awesome. I mean awesome as in I danced around my house blasting ‘Celebrate Good Times, C’mon’ at full volume. Scared the window cleaner to death. Finishing one novel also pushed me to write more. I got in such a habit of writing nearly every day that I missed it when I wasn’t. That’s not to say I don’t have days when I seriously can’t be arsed. But I’ve been powering through the sequel far quicker than the first one because now it doesn’t seem like too much effort to write 500 words a day. Doing it in small chunks is definitely the way to go for me. And if I miss a day, I’ll do 1000 the next. That still isn’t a huge amount in the grand scheme of things – typing at size 12, that’s about a page. Writing every day is one piece of advice that I see thrown around a lot, and in theory I agree with it. Yes, even if you don’t have much motivation. If you wait around for motivation, you’ll never get anything done. But equally, don’t beat yourself up if you have a day off. For one thing, you can always catch up the next day if you keep your goals reasonable. For another, even if you don’t catch up it’s fine to have a day off every now and again, just like you would with anything else. It’s important to be disciplined if you’re serious about writing, but if you stop enjoying writing then what’s the point?
Like anything that’s worth doing, writing is difficult. It’s time consuming, it’s often frustrating and unless you make your millions from it there’s not a lot in terms of financial reward. That’s why my ultimate piece of advice in this little ramble parading itself as a blog post is this: if you’re writing for any other reason than being really and truly passionate about it, then don’t bother. Because while I’d love to get Enclosure published, it was never my end goal. I wrote it because I wanted to. And even if all it does is gather dust, I’ll still be proud of it.
Blessed Be )O(